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3.3. Research strategy

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Research strategy details the plan of how the research objectives will be answered. It is dictated by a number of factors including the nature of the phenomenon, the state of existing knowledge, and the types of questions to be asked (Saunders et al., 2003). Yin (1984) believes that selection of research strategy depends on the type of the research questions asked, the extent of control that a researcher has over actual behavioural events and the degree of focus on contemporary events compared to behavioural events.

The case study strategy was considered appropriate for carrying out my research, as I needed to focus on a current real life context phenomenon. The literature about offshoring revealed a complex practice, thus the application of standardized questionnaires or surveys would fail to capture some of the important aspects of the phenomenon. The case study method is well established in IT research especially when it is used for “sticky, practice-based problems” (Benbasat et al. 1987). Notwithstanding the fast growth of the IT offshoring practice, several questions remain unanswered about the phenomenon; my strategy will allow me to concentrate on specific instances and situations and to identify the various interactive processes at work. In addition, the case study method is preferred when ‘how’ or ‘what’ questions are being posed, when the investigator has little control over events, and when the focus is on a contemporary phenomenon within some real-life context (Yin 1984). My objective is to identify ‘what’ drives firms to offshore their IT work to Morocco and ‘how’ could the Moroccan companies take advantage of this phenomenon. Specifically, I will conduct an explanatory case study with the goal of posing competing explanations and developing new ones.

Moreover, since the main target of this paper is on firm level, several semi-structured interviews will be conducted by companies involved in the software industry in Morocco; and documentary analysis will be used to meet the research objectives. Interviewees are mainly the managers and people in authority to make decision of outsourcing software activities. Besides, the context of my research requires flexibility and the employment of open-ended questions in order to give both the interviewees and myself more freedom.

According to Saunders et al. (2003), case studies are the most meaningful method of testing the existing theory and by analysing the collected data, I will be able to develop appropriate theory that could be more adapted to the Moroccan context, this is more relevant for the induction research approach stated previously. It could be argued that given the relatively low number of participants, a case study approach would be adequate to obtain the information required.

In addition, it is necessary to have a qualitative analyse since, the decision and inclination toward IT services offshoring are not easy to quantitative measurement (Yin, 1984). The quantitative method approach is not suitable to the current research because the goal of understanding the social or institutional context is lost when such methods are implemented (Kaplan and Maxwell, 1994). Furthermore, since the reviewed literature was usually based depending on the authors’ situations and views, the case study design, as an evaluation research approach and a generalization from it, will build a basis for valid inferences from the case events and evidence collected (Lee, 2003).

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